Click on the photo to view a high-resolution version. (AFRO Photo/J.D. Howard)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservative activists rallied Aug. 28 in the nation's capital on the anniversary and at the same site of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream'' speech. Civil rights leaders countered the event and held a 3-mile (5-kilometer) plus march from Dunbar High School to the site of the planned King Memorial near the Tidal Basin.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington's delegate to Congress, said she remembers being at King's March on Washington, which she said prompted change and ended segregation in public places. "Glenn Beck's march will change nothing. But you can't blame Glenn Beck for his March-on-Washington envy," she said.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, leading the civil rights march and rally, spoke to the assembled. "The folks who used to criticize us for marching are trying to have a march themselves,'' he said. "We come because the dream has not been achieved. We've made a lot of progress. But we still have a long way to go.''
He said he wasn't seeking a confrontation with those at the Beck rally. During the march his group briefly encountered participants from a rally on the National Mall. "We wouldn't disgrace today by allowing you to provoke us,'' he said.
Marchers encountered the other crowds near the Washington Monument. Men in tri-cornered hats and people wearing tea party T-shirts looked on as marchers chanted "Reclaim the dream'' and "MLK, MLK.'' Some marchers chanted "don't drink the tea'' to people leaving Beck's rally.
In addition to Sharpton and Congresswoman Norton, speakers at the event included Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Wade Henderson, District councilman and candidate for mayor Vincent Gray, Mayor Adrian Fenty, NAACP President Ben Jealous, National Urban League CEO and President Marc Morial, Tom Joyner, the Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy and others.